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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

How do I get a U.S. visa?

For anyone wishing to travel to the United States, whether to settle permanently or for a visit, the first step is obtaining a U.S. visa. A visa is a legal document which allows a foreign national to travel to a U.S. port of entry. For most travelers this will be an airport in the U.S. For those entering the U.S. through Florida, several ports of entry are available.

The visa application process generally takes a few weeks, but sometimes it takes longer, so it is a good idea to begin the application process as soon as you decide to travel to the U.S.

Fighting for Florida victims of dangerous prescription drugs

Many people in Florida depend on prescription medications to maintain their health and live a normal life. Prescription drugs today can do everything from controlling high blood pressure to relieving chronic pain. Yet virtually all drugs have potential side effects. In some cases these side effects are minor and are clearly outweighed by the benefits of taking the medication. In other cases, however, the side effects can result in serious illness and even death.

We depend on prescription drug manufacturers to warn us of the potential risks of the medications they produce. But sometimes drugs are rushed onto the market without adequate testing. And sometimes a manufacturer will downplay the risks in order to protect their profits.

Deportation may be delayed for many immigrants in Florida

Like other places in the U.S., over the last two years Florida has seen a surge in undocumented immigrants fleeing gang violence in Central America. The surge began in 2014 and is continuing. The Department of Homeland Security expects that the number of families from Central America entering the U.S. illegally this year will be higher than the number in 2014. Now the Obama administration is delaying the deportation proceedings of about 56,000 of these immigrants for several years.

The delays are apparently the result of a cost-saving decision. Many immigrants who were supposed to receive GPS ankle bracelets failed to show up to have them fitted, in part because of unclear instructions. Because the government does not have to pay a bracelet monitoring fee of $4 to $8 a day for those who failed to have them fitted, these people will have their cases delayed.

Relief from deportation is possible, but knowledge is key

When a U.S. immigration judge determines that an immigrant is deportable, a few avenues of relief are still available. Anyone facing removal proceedings in Florida needs to respond quickly, however, in order to avoid deportation.

One form of relief from removal is asylum. To be granted asylum immigrants must prove a well-founded fear that if they are returned to their home country they will be persecuted on the basis of race, religion, political beliefs or other factors.

Florida immigrants register for upcoming presidential election

Every four years, Americans have the right to vote for a candidate for president that they believe best serves their views. Many natural citizens do not think twice about this privilege. However, in many countries, democracy is not practiced. Democracy is what makes our country great because it gives the rights to citizens to elect office officials.

It's a big reason that many immigrants decided that the United States is the best place for themselves and their family. With the presidential election looming, immigrants are exercising their constitutional rights and registering to vote in the upcoming election. Accord to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Florida is leading the nation in newly naturalized citizens with a spike of 54% in the past year. For many, this is their first election with citizenship status and it is within their constitutional rights as a citizen to vote for a candidate. Currently, there are over 1.9 million registered voters of Hispanic descent living in Florida.

Thinking of immigrating extended family to Florida, we can help

When loves ones live overseas, it can be very hard seeing them only once or a few times a year. The American dream is still alive and well, but that doesn't mean those who seek it do not have to make sacrifices. One of the sacrifices people often make after immigrating to America is the distance from beloved family members. Now that one is established in Miami, it may be time to think about beginning the immigration process for loves ones located in other countries.

There are many different types of petitions to seek depending on the family relation one has with a loved one who is thinking of immigrating to America. Depending on the family connection -- son, mother or husband, for example -- in relation to the American citizen, there are different preferences certain family members have over others. This can dictate how one seeks out the immigration process. At Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., our dedicated staff has years of experience aiding the family immigration process.

Does military service provide benefits under US immigration law?

Throughout this country's history immigrants have volunteered to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Many have given their lives for this country. In Florida there are many veterans who joined the military as immigrants. For them and their family members, military service has often been a first step on the road to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Non-U.S. citizens can join the U.S. military, although they are not eligible to be commissioned officers. An immigrant who wants to join the armed forces must have a green card and reside in the U.S. They may also require a waiver if they are from a country deemed hostile to the U.S.

When lack of informed consent leads to medical malpractice

Florida patients have some important legal rights when they seek medical treatment. One of the most important of these is the right to informed consent. This means that before submitting to a course of treatment or a medical procedure, the doctor must advise the patient of the benefits, risks and alternatives and then get the patient's consent before proceeding.

Ideally the physician will discuss this information with the patient personally and confirm that the patient understands it before obtaining consent to proceed. The doctor should include in the discussion the diagnosis, the purpose of the procedure, and the risks and benefits. The doctor should advise the patient of alternatives to the proposed procedure, and the risks and benefits of these alternatives. If the patient agrees to go ahead with the treatment, he or she should then be asked to sign and date a document confirming they have received the information and that they agree to the procedure.

U.S. immigration law is more strictly enforced at the borders

Most Florida residents who follow immigration news are probably aware that the Obama administration has carried out more deportations of undocumented immigrants than either the Bush or Clinton administrations. Deportations began to rise in 1996 and increased significantly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which led to the devotion of greater resources to immigration enforcement.

After peaking in 2012, however, deportations declined through 2015. This has occurred as the number of apprehensions near the Mexican border has dropped. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that those apprehensions so far in 2016 are up slightly over 2015 but are still well below the numbers for 2013 and 2014.

Florida's fictional medical malpractice crisis

For years insurance companies and their allies in the state legislature have been spreading a fiction that Florida is in a medical malpractice lawsuit crisis. According to the insurance companies, doctors have been fleeing the state and those who remain have been forced to practice "defensive medicine" and avoid performing many procedures, all because of skyrocketing malpractice lawsuits. The insurers' PR strategy has been very successful, and the fable of a medical profession beset by frivolous litigation has become widely accepted. But, as data from the National Practitioner Data Bank shows, it's a myth.

Some researchers took the NPDB data regarding malpractice lawsuits by state and calculated the number of lawsuits per 100,000 population in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. How did Florida come out? Some may be surprised by the answer -- Florida ranked 40th of the 51 jurisdictions surveyed. The state had only 16.2 malpractice lawsuits per 100,000 people in the state in 2015. The state with the most malpractice lawsuits per capita, Louisiana, had 44.1 per 100,000 -- still a relatively small number, but more than two and a half times the number in Florida.

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